Little Boy And Girl Holding Hands

Start blogging
If you’re still waiting for the right time to start your photo blog, you’re behind the game. Start it today. Find an image that you really like from a recent session, and use it as the basis for a blog post. If you’re waiting to get your masters in blogging before you write your first post, you’ll never get around to getting started. You can always improve your blogging skill as you go, but until you get started, you don’t have anythting to improve on.

Write for your audience
What would customers and potential customers be interested in seeing on your blog? They want to see your photography, especially if they’re the ones in the picture. Seeing your images is why they came to your blog in the first place. People also like to know about discounts, contests, and a little bit about your studio. Basically, almost everything you write should benefit your readers in some way, and that affords you the privilege of occasionally plugging your studio.

Publish when you’ve got something worth publishing
I’ve seen photo blogs where they post images from every session. That’s too frequently. I’m fine with posting a few images to Facebook from every session, but the blog should be like a constantly updated portfolio. If you’re getting portfolio images with every session, you’re not being picky enough with what images you’re letting represent your studio. On the other side of the coin, some photographers publish a blog post once a quarter or even less frequently. That’s too long between posts. People are not going to keep checking your blog if you never publish new content. You should be posting somewhere between 3 times a week to once every few weeks. There’s no exact formula beyond that, so just whatever makes the most sense for you.

Tell the story
A post consisting of only a single image with no text isn’t a blog post. Images are definitely key, but they can’t stand alone. Every image has a story, and it’s your job to tell the details or something interesting to go along with the image. Your readers expect text, and so do the search engines. One of the benefits of blogging is that people will start to find your blog when searching Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Don’t miss out on big traffic from search engines by leaving out the text.

Encourage comments
The more you can make your blog centered around your reader, the more likely the reader will return. When a reader posts a comment on your blog, the reader is then invested in the blog. Go the extra mile and respond to reader comments. A reader who feels connected to you is highly likely to consider you the next time they’re looking for a photographer. As a bonus to the other benefits, comments on your blog also help you rank higher in search engines because you have more text.

Design your blog for user experience
I’ve visited photographer blogs that seemed to have all the right elements – impressive images, a unique blog design, etc. In an effort to make their blog unique though, they had forgotten about the user experience. The site was impossible to navigate. One that I’m thinking of in particular had a rotating menu for getting to different sections. Nothing makes me click my browser’s back button sooner than a bad interface.

Write with style
Just the facts may be a good policy for a courtroom, but it’s a terrible strategy for a blog. Nobody wants to read posts that don’t have some life in them. The reason you’re writing on your own photography work is that you’re the expert, and you’re supposed to have passion about what you do. If you aren’t passionate about your work, no one will be.

Write location specific posts
Who cares about location? Well, search engines for one, and probably your visitors too. Search engines pick up on location and help people searching for photographers in that area to find your blog. You can be both general and specific with your location. You may want to include the city name in the post title and also include any landmark names in the post text.

Post only the best images
I don’t want to be a kill-joy here, but not every shot you take is going to be a total knock out. Some sites contain work that makes me cry inside, and not in a good way. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The clients had to be embarrassed about the picture too. Maybe they didn’t know what they didn’t like, so they didn’t complain, but the double chin, poor choice of background, and terrible lighting topped my list of dislikes. Your clients won’t spread images where thy don’t like how they look, so make sure the images are top knotch before posting.

Funnel visitors to your website
If you’re getting prospective clients looking at your blog, that’s great, but it can’t stop there. Even a visitor who’s loving your images on your blog probably won’t go out of their way to find your main website if the link isn’t obvious. Your blog is your hook, and you reel them in with your website. Continuing the fishing analogy – a fish who you hooked but you didn’t reel in puts the same amount of food on the table as if you never hooked the fish to start off with. Providing clear navigation to your main website is key to closing the deal.

I’d love to know how these work for you guys. Any other great tips for photo blogs? I’m guessing most of my photographer readers already have a photo blog. What have you done with your blog that helped you bring in more customers?


17 Responses to “10 Ways To Score Customers With A Photo Blog”

  1. Peter J says:

    I like your point about only the best images, it’s like people who blog about their holidays. Only quality is the necessary; and not accessing the page and seeing that it takes a 15mb download just to view the images that look rubbish.

    People don’t have the time to see everything, so you have to capture them from the first time they set eyes on the page ;)

    • TJ says:

      Thanks for stopping by man! If people are going to post pictures that aren’t amazing, they can do it on Facebook, and I think it doesn’t reflect badly on them. Like you were saying about a blog post though, people expect a quality post. It’s a waste of people’s time to download your huge images that aren’t all that good anyway.

  2. Alex says:

    Hey TJ

    I like this post man!
    I think that most of the points you make about photo blogs resonate with all blogs, and that point you make about only posting when there is something worthwhile showing… Holy Crap that needs to be shouted into the blogosphere in general!

    Thanks for sharing brother :)

    • TJ says:

      Alex – thanks for the positive feedback! With posting only stuff that’s worthwhile, I think that pretty well separates the amateurs from the professionals.

      I noticed that your comment didn’t have a CommentLuv link, and neither did Peter’s. You guys are regular bloggers, so I’m kind of surprised it didn’t find your last blog post. Did you have trouble with the plugin working? I’m wondering if maybe there’s a javascript conflict with CommentLuv and the new blog design.

  3. Alex says:

    I notice this on a few blogs, and I think it has something to do with the first comment being posted. As you see – this one COmmentLuvs me up no worries.

    Thanks for responding so quick – have an awesome new year mate, if I dont chat with you before then that is

    (well have an awesome new years regardless LOL)

  4. Jimi Jones says:

    Hey TJ.

    Nice post, man. You’ve listed some really solid points.

    I think images are really important for a blog, regardless of topic, so it’s critical to have something compelling to help deliver the message. merge that with “Tell the story” and “Write with style” and that makes for a wining combination.

    It’s my first visit here, like the look and feel. :-)

    Keep rockin!

  5. Amr Boghdady says:

    Excellent post TJ
    My sister is really into photography, and I’ve always thought about using some of her pictures in my upcoming blog
    It will be a blog about general life here in Cairo, so her pics should really help :)

    • TJ says:

      I’m a big fan of using your own images (or in your case, your sister’s) on your blog. Plus it may give you a chance to plug your sister – bonus!

  6. arief says:

    i like to take a photograph when having a journey, it’s so happy to memorize the place, scene and activities during the journey in an album. but honestly i dont wanna post the pics as i just wanna enjoy it myself.

    • TJ says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s definitely completely up to you whether you post your images. I wish some photographers would take the same approach until they get something worth posting. It can be embarassing to the people getting their pictures taken to have awkward photos posted online. There are books and websites for awkward photos that make you wonder why some people publish some of the work they do.

  7. Hi.
    It’s refreshing to read a blog that offers some genuine content. I’m still trying to find the right balance of good images to text. I see photographer blogs where each post is an exhaustive list of photos from the shoot and a vertical scrollbar about a mile long. Typically these types of post have <100 words on them (bad from an SEO perspective). But they seem to be successful photographers with high-ranking sites in the search results. It's difficult to know exactly what readers are looking for.

    • TJ says:

      Yea, you’re right. Reader experience is really what it comes down to in the end. I think each blog has it’s own feel. I know with those blog posts like you’re talking about where they have 50 pictures, most of the time I lose interest about 15 pictures in.

      Thanks for your comment! Hope to see you back soon.

  8. very interesting article, I am also a photographer and I will use this information to promote my future activity

  9. Michael says:

    I loved your ideas for posting photography blogs. My blog is currently focused on photography turorials. I am trying to figure out what the best length for a post is. I want to give my readers the information, hopefully entertain them, but not make it so they run away due to the length of my content. Any thoughts?

    • TJ McDowell says:

      That’s a tough one. Some bloggers have great success with longer articles while others find that shorter articles work better. Unfortunately there’s not a magic 500 word per post rule. Have you taken a look at your Google Analytics stats to see if that could give you any insight on what readers are doing when they come to your blog?